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Transcript: The ReidOut, 8/13/21

Guests: Eric Holder, Bernard Ashby, Olivia Troye, Jason Crow, Dana Milbank, Don Calloway


Trump still hasn`t been reinstated as president. Mike Lindell predicts Trump will be reinstated. Republicans control redistricting in 20 states. Census data to be used to allot congressional seats.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: You know what, we just -- we had our other artisan together, producer and rapper, I would love to do a joint interview Meek Mill with you. It would by my honor, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Officially, we have pitched that just now on national T.V. Let`s do it.

MELBER: There it is, to the world.

REID: All right, Ari, have a great weekend. Thank you. All right, cheers.

All right, good evening everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT with the horror story. Today is Friday the 13th. Now, for most of us who are old enough to remember, that date conjures up memories of Jason Voorhees and his nightmare-inducing murdering rampages near Crystal Lake.

So spooky. In 2021, that nightmare has been replaced by another horrifying reality, the modern Republican Party. For many hardcore Trump followers and the orange emperor with no clothes himself, this Friday the 13th is the day of his glorious and his triumphant return to power. Yes. Today is the day that the military, which is secretly in power, will hand over the White House to the bloated retiree over in Bedminster and remove the Biden hologram. Trump, like every sad narcissist, believes this lie.

According to one report, he`s taking to telling people that he would be reinstated as president. Now, all of those people don`t just laugh in his face, it`s beyond me. But that probably explains why the #trumpisalaughingstock trended all afternoon. The factually dubious and dangerous idea was cooked up in the rancid bowels of the QAnon inter webs and pushed by right wing heretics led by, the MyPillow guy.


MIKE LINDELL, CEO, THE MY PILLOW: By the time, August 13th -- the morning of August 13th, it will be the talk of the world point. Hurry up. Let`s get this election pulled down and right the right.

On August 13th, Donald Trump is going to be reinstated as President. The alliance is going to overturn the cabal.


REID: Nearly 30 percent of the Republican Party actually believes this nonsense.

Well, it is past 7:00 P.M. and Joe Biden is still the president. And he is not a hologram, because there is no constitutional mechanism or legal tool to reinstate a man who was rejected by 81 million Americans and lost his re-election bid, period.

Now some of this seems comical. The sheer stupidity of it all masks the truly disturbing under belly of the Republican Party in this moment, because today is just another example of how far the right-wing misinformation regime is willing to go, to feed poison to their people, poison that led to a deadly insurrection, poison that led to the only American president in modern history, in any of our of our history, to actively try to overthrow a free and fair election, poison that prompted the DHS to issue a terrorism threat alert that include a warning about domestic terrorists engage in grievance-based violence.

The bulletin also warned of violence stemming from conspiracy theories based on perceived election fraud and alleged reinstatement. Sound familiar? The same poison that`s now fuelling a two-pronged attack on democratic voters in the form of voter suppression and racial gerrymandering. This kind of corrosive propaganda has become acceptable to Republicans, even Republicans who know better, because it helps subjugate democracy in their quest for power.

Why did they allow all of this poison? Well, new census numbers this week give us a clue. The United States is increasingly multiracial and urban and the white population is shrinking. Even more interesting, the majority of the Americans under the age of 18 are ethnically diverse, the majority.

While the census also showed us is that the bulk of the diverse population growth is in states like Texas and Arizona, where Republicans get to draw the lines in a way that ensure that they keep more power than they deserve. That is what we call gerrymandering, folks.

That`s also what happens when old America keeps the new America from fully blossoming, because democracy can die in broad daylight. That`s why it feels like a deck is so stacked. Because every time democracy ekes out a victory, Republicans throw up a new hurdle.

Just take a look at what`s happening in Georgia or Texas or at the Supreme Court, where conservative justices have left the Voting Rights Act on life support, with a fading pulse. The next few months pose a make-or-break moment for America. And the question is what will Democrats do about it.

And joining me now is Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General under President Barack Obama, and the Chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.

And, General Holder, thank you so much for being here. You`re just the person that I wanted to talk to in this moment when it does feel like our democracy is teetering on the brink of collapse.


And I want to go back to start with this reinstatement thing. It`s ridiculous, it`s ludicrous, but it`s also a national security threat. And I wonder if as somebody who was attorney general, do you think that, U.S. attorneys and the current DOJ is being aggressive enough in having some sort of consequence for pushing this big lie and these big lies that are actually potentially making people get violent.

ERIC HOLDER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, you know, the Justice Department clearly is investigating and prosecuting all the people involved on January the 6th. It seems to me that there probably needs to be a wider investigation to see how you tie what happened January the 6th to what happened starting the day of the election or immediately thereafter.

It seems to me these are part in parcel of the same things as the revelations come out about the White House trying to influencing the Justice Department, trying to get people at the Justice Department to say that the election results were fraudulent and use it as a basis to then use operatives in the state to, you know, overturn the election results. This is something that I think calls for a pretty expansive view of -- you know, review of what happened.

But here is the deal. You know, I think, in some ways, the most important thing is for that congressional committee to look at all these things so that the information that they get can be shared with the American people and can be shared with history.

Criminal investigations, you know, a lot of it happens in grand juries, a lot of it doesn`t get revealed to the public, ever. And there has to be an accounting of who was involved, what did they do. A prime question has to be, what did the president`s men know and what did they do.

REID: Well, and we know that there is not a history in this country unlike some countries of prosecuting a former president. But this just seems like a sui generis case with Donald Trump, when know that Spiro Agnew, former vice president, was prosecuted. But there isn`t -- there hasn`t really been a history of that.

But right now, this former president, Donald Trump, there is a Georgia investigation that is ongoing right now into his call to overturn the election directly there in the state of Georgia. Georgia election officials opened that in February about that phone call in which he pressured the secretary of state there to overturn the election.

And I wonder if combining that fact, that he is already under that criminal investigation, and the fact that there is this January 6th commission that is looking at what could come out to be crimes. I mean, George Conway has come out and said, there`s even prosecution here. If you were still in a position to do so, would you be open to the idea that perhaps Donald Trump should be prosecuted?

HOLDER: Yes. I certainly think that, you know, everybody who was involved in that matter, and, I mean, you just -- you can`t look at it. You can`t cabin (ph). You just think that January 6th is the only thing we need to be looking at. We have to go back a couple of months and everybody who was involved in that. I mean, everybody should be investigated and then potentially prosecuted.

Now, prosecution of a former president involves a whole range of things that you know goes -- that`s a little different from, you know, people who serve and below him. There are national interests, divisions that that could unleash, which is not to say that he should not be held accountable if he is found to have committed criminal acts. Put it in a minimum, at a minimum, an investigation needs to be done to find out who exactly was involved, what was the connection between people in the White House and the people who were there on January the 6th through intermediaries or direct.

REID: And you were there obviously when Merrick Garland was chosen to be on the Supreme Court by former President Obama. So I assume you know at least, know a lot about him. Do you get the sense that he is overcautious in that regard when it comes to investigating the former president, members of Congress and others who may have been complicit in what amounted to -- what not what amounted to, in what was an attempted coup, an insurrection against the United States?

HOLDER: No, I don`t think so. I mean, I`ve known Merrick for, you know, maybe 20, 30, 20, 25 years at this point. I think he is a person that is going to do things by the book. And I think he understands the enormity of what happened and the negative impact that, you know, what happened on January the 6th and what led up to January the 6th, The negative impact of that had on the nation, and, you know, the negative impact that would occur if people who are responsible for all that were not held accountable. You know, I think he feels that. I think understands that. And I think he is prepared, you know, to make those kinds of difficult decision.

You know, I got a lot of grief when I decided that I was going to look back at what happened in the prior administration, when it came to the use of -- a torture as interrogation technique. And, you know, I think Merrick went in to the job understanding this. Sometimes you`ve got to make these decisions that are going to be politically controversial, maybe even unpopular. You know, I think he has got the type of like a backbone that will allow him to make the appropriate determination in these cases.

REID: Now, that is good news I think to a lot of our viewers.

Okay, let`s get to the other half of the threat to democracy.


Republicans are using the big lie. Whether they personally believe it or not, they are deciding to use it to their advantage. I know you sued multiple states when you were attorney general over attempts to disenfranchise voters in some of this southern state, in these red states. We now have that on steroids happening in places like Texas, in Georgia et cetera.

In your view, how do we put the brakes on that enough to allow enough people to be able to vote so that we have a free and fair election in 2022? And are you worried that these states have now gone so far that we won`t have a free and a fair election?

HOLDER: They haven`t done things at to this point that are I think irreversible. I am concerned, however, that if we do not pass the For the People Act and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, that we can`t get to a point where they will put measures in place that will be irreversible, and that could have a negative impact on our democracy.

I mean, some of the things that they were at least considering, and I think that`s still being considered, you know, in a variety of state, is this notion that you would somehow empower state legislators to an essence overturn the will of the people, overturn a vote by the people in a presidential election. That kind of stuff has going to be outlawed, in addition to, you know, the dark money components, the anti-gerrymandering component, the voter protection stuff that`s all in the For the People Act.

So, you know, the best way to get all of this stuff is to pass the legislation that the House has already passed and is now pending in the Senate.

REID: Let`s also get to the other part of what they are doing, the gerrymandering that`s coming. We know the census is out. We know it`s saying the country is much more diverse. The reaction to that among the Republican Party does not seem to be to say, well, let`s adjust our policies to make it more attractive to a diverse population. It seems to be that they are gearing up to gerrymander the hell out of the map in a way that could mean that even if Republicans and Democrats win huge majorities in state like Texas, Arizona, and Georgia, they won`t get the seats that seem that they would go with it. What can we do about that? I know that, that is what your organization is primarily focused on.

HOLDER: Well, certainly, again, you can pass the For the People Act. That bans partisan gerrymandering. Racial gerrymandering is already outlooked under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and that remains in effect. But we really have got to make sure that we are focused on the decision in a way that we have not before. We`ve been working on this since January 2017. We have put people in place in the states who control the process. Governors and secretaries of state in a variety of states, they`d all be in a place to somehow act as a check against Republican legislatures.

We sponsored and put in place these independent commissions that will draw the lines. But also an advocacy campaign that has a big part of what it is that we are doing to make sure all of that stuff happen in a transparent way, that they don`t go all behind closed doors just draw the maps, you know, draw the lines, and then present maps that are in effect for the next ten years.

Given the census, we know that the population is now more urban, it is more diverse, it`s more suburban, it is less rural, it is more young. All of these things tend to favor Democrats. Those extra seats that Texas was getting, those are seats that should be Democratic seats, though they were fueled by 50 percent increase in Hispanic population. The overall population was increased by 90 percent. You know, overall increase of the population fueled by 90 percent of that being from people of color. So, you know, the drawing of lines there should reflect that, and you should have a greater Democratic representation from Texas, as well as from other states.

REID: Absolutely. Before I let you go, do you have any scoops for us on whether or not you think that any version of For the People actually will pass? Because it looks like the original For the People Act, it really should be called the John Lewis Act, because that is the one that his team wrote. Is any of that going to pass? And if so, how?

HOLDER: You know, I certainly hope so. I think Leader Schumer has got ideas about the process that they`ve going to go through to try to convince some Senators who, at this point, seem to be more concerned about the filibuster than about our democracy. So, I`m cautiously optimistic that will this can happen. You know, Senators Schumer has said this is the first thing they`re going to take up when they come back from their August recess. And I think we will have a better sense then as to how successful he`s going to be in getting these thing across the line.

But then that is a vital, vital piece of legislation. We`ve got to get the For the People Act passed.

REID: Well, thank you for saying that. I agree, and I think most of people who are watching tonight agree as well. Attorney General Eric Holder, thank you very much. It`s always great to talk to you. Thank you and have a great weekend.

HOLDER: Thank you.

REID: All right. And coming up next on THE REIDOUT, the cynical COVID politics of Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott, the Republican governors willing to risk the lives of their own constituents in exchange for the votes of the anti-mask crowd.

Plus, as Rand Paul serves up COVID misinformation, he has some questions to answer about his family`s rush to profit from the pandemic.

And things are rapidly going from bad to worse in Afghanistan. But after 20 years, would there have ever been a good time for us to leave?


A member of Congress who served in Afghanistan joins me tonight.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: As COVID rages in their states, two Republican governors are prioritizing their own political ambitions over the lives of their own constituents, and the toll is evident. First, Florida`s Ron DeSantis, who is standing by his ban on mask mandates while running the nation`s most transparent 2024 presidential campaign.

With the school year set to begin next week in Broward County, the second largest school district in the state, teachers return to news that three educators died of COVID within 24 hours this week. The teachers union said all three were unvaccinated and that their deaths are a tragedy. But what if those educators had been in a classroom with kids too young to get vaccinated and who, by governor`s orders, could be in the classroom unmasked.


That tragedy for these three families could have been extended to many, many more families. all because of Ron DeSantis. Broward County schools have already defied the anti-mask order, as have two other districts.

Then a judge heard a challenge to the mask mandate ban for parents in six counties today. Ron, the junior Don, conceded he doesn`t even have the authority to follow through on his threat to withhold the salaries of educators who defy his ban.

But his partner in carnage, Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, who, like DeSantis, is up for reelection next year, issued a threat of his own to Texas school districts rejecting his mask mandate ban.

Meanwhile, as Governor DeathSantis, as his detractors call him, soldiers on, the scope of the threat to Florida`s most vulnerable only grows. School districts around Tampa are reporting hundreds of cases in students and teachers. And in Palm Beach County, more than 400 students are in quarantine days after starting classes.

Amid that, more than 800 Florida doctors signed a letter to DeSantis, demanding that he repeal his stupefyingly dangerous order.

One of the doctors who signed that letter joins me now, Dr. Bernard Ashby, a Miami cardiologist, along with Olivia Troye, who resigned as a senior aide to the Coronavirus Task Force in the Trump administration and is currently director of the Republican Accountability Project.

And, Dr. Ashby, it`s always good to see you.

I have to say I take this one very personally. My three kids went to school in Broward County schools. If they were still young and we were still in Florida, that`s where they would be going to school. And I would be afraid to send them, quite frankly. I`m not sure that I would.

Talk to me about this letter that you all sent and about the impact of this ban on mask mandates in Florida.

DR. BERNARD ASHBY, COMMITTEE TO PROTECT MEDICARE: Joy, as always, it`s a pleasure to be here. But I wish it was under better circumstances...

REID: Yes.

ASHBY: ... considering our kids are now at risk from this pandemic.

So, basically, myself and some other physicians, or quite a few other physicians, as you can see, decided to basically speak from the point -- from our reference point as front-line workers and as physicians, frankly, with our mandate of ethics, meaning that what we do is, we protect the well-being of our patients.

And it`s not only within the context of the hospital or our clinics, but this goes for the community as well. And, essentially, what we were asking DeSantis to do was essentially, do your job, meaning that your job, as our governor, duly elected, is to protect the health, the wellness of our community.

And he`s derelict in his duties. And, essentially, what the point of the letter was, was communicating that message and hopefully -- hoping that he would have some semblance of humanity and do what`s right for our children and our entire state.

REID: But he`s not.

I mean, what -- his response to that is to sell these stupid anti-Fauci T- shirts. And now his new thing is to urge Floridians to use Regeneron antibody treatments, which is like $1, 200 a pop. And he`s deploying mobile units to administer the treatment, basically saying, let COVID in the school, let people go unmasked and be exposed to unvaccinated people who could have COVID, and then I will send a van to give them Regeneron.

Does that make sense to you as a physician?

ASHBY: So, Joy, believe it or not, we actually advocated that he promote this monoclonal antibody therapy.

There`s a 70 percent chance of hospitalization and death if you get that therapy early. And right now, in the midst of an emergency while our hospitals are being filled up, that`s one of the therapies that we can use, in addition to vaccines, to kind of quell this outbreak.

However, he only did that because of our advocacy. I have been on really about do something, do something. And these are one of -- this was one of the measures that we have asked him to do. And now he`s finally moving forward on that.

So it`s one thing for him to be against masks, which is ridiculous and indefensible. It`s one thing to for him to actually criticize vaccines de facto with his criticism of Fauci and others, but he wasn`t doing anything.

And so this is the least that he could do, given the fact that that therapy is so effective and underutilized and could potentially save a lot of lives. But what would save more lives is actually wearing a mask. And the fact that he`s actually against masks, with no reason, rationale whatsoever, and simply making this a political issue, is simply inhumane and simply derelict.

And this is something that, if we were in a fantasy world, wouldn`t even make sense to me, because people are literally dying because of the decisions that`s making.


REID: Olivia, having served on the Trump task force that ostensibly was about preventing us getting to where we are right now, I am just fascinated to hear your thoughts on these governors, for political purposes, siding with what now includes the Proud Boys are showing up and violently -- threatening violence, essentially, against doctors, like Dr. Ashby, people who are trying to save lives.

These doctors are being shouted down and bullied, including by the Proud Boys, who helped with the insurrection.

Your thoughts on the fact that these Republican governors have decided that this is their key to power, and the fact that they don`t seem to care that it could be killing people?


And it is frustrating. And it is so angering to me especially, because I have seen this before. I have seen this whole show before. I saw them do this a year ago, when we were going into a really terrible winter, where they created this divisiveness, and they got ahead of it. And they could have put measures in place that would have prevented the deaths of many.

And that was back then. And we are seeing this show again. And, look, talking about the Proud Boys, I have to say, DHS just issued their latest bread advisory. And what was striking to me in it was the language in it, and also the highlighting of potential threats because of the current misinformation and rhetoric and divisiveness that we have across the country on COVID specifically.

So, now, let`s think about that. Our own homeland security enterprise is warning about the potential for violence and increased rhetoric and divisiveness across the country. So, of course, Proud Boys, yes, you`re seeing the congruence of these narratives come together with this belief system.

And it`s being driven by people like DeSantis and Abbott, the governors of the states. These are leaders of our country that are encouraging these types of narratives that are inevitably going to lead to these threats, this increase in it.

So you have national security officials warning about this, while you have governors at odds with what -- truly what they`re saying. And they`re part of the messaging that is driving these threats.

REID: We have had Dr. Fauci on last night, where he said that he`s -- he`s constantly getting threats. Doctors are having to get added security, because it`s become a matter of sort of cultural rage just the idea of putting on a mask.

You`re nodding, Dr. Ashby. Have you experienced that?

ASHBY: Joy, yes, I have, between some of the messages I have -- messages that I have received on social media, to my e-mail. I even have patients calling my office threatening me.

And this is literally insane. I mean, I have an office in Miami. I have an office in the Treasure Coast. I have plenty of patients that are actually Trump supporters. And they know me. They know my heart. They know that I will bend over backwards and do whatever I -- whatever it takes to make sure that their health is protected and their health is improved.

And for them to attack me for simply following my mandate as a physician to protect the health and well-being of my patients, to me, indicates that this country has jumped off a cliff of sorts. When people are literally ignoring measures that will protect them from dying in order to attack me, to me, is just beyond the pale.

And as someone who practices medicine for the love of it and know that I am a servant, meaning that I serve my patients, I serve my community, to be attacked for that is -- putting it lightly, is a slap in the face.

REID: It`s despicable.

And I`m going to give you the last word on this, Olivia, because there`s been a lot of debate whether or not, if Donald Trump, who is not reinstated as president today, was to say something, in your view, as somebody who`s been in this position inside the administration, would it even make a difference at this point?

TROYE: I think it`s too far gone down the road, honestly, between all the conspiracies and what we`re seeing in these movements.

But it could certainly make a difference.

REID: Yes.

TROYE: And he could certainly speak to a certain population out there where it could actually maybe move the needle on this thing.

REID: But he won`t, because he`s Donald Trump.

Dr. Bernard Ashby, stay safe. Thank you for all that you do. Olivia Troye, thank you so much for your voice.

All right, still ahead: The Taliban is advancing across Afghanistan faster than expected. And they`re now in control of the country`s second largest city. U.S. troops are deploying to secure the evacuation of Americans.

So, what comes next? We will have a live report from Richard Engel.

Stay with us.



REID: The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating rapidly, with the Taliban capturing the country`s second and third largest cities today, Kandahar and Herat.

They have been grabbing territory at a stunning pace and are now in control of more than two-thirds of the country, as the U.S. is withdrawing its troops from the region.

Though Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said today that Kabul isn`t in imminent danger -- emphasis on imminent -- officials think it could fall to the Taliban within weeks. The U.S. is sending troops to help secure the exit of their staff from the embassy in Kabul.

The embassy is urging U.S. citizens to leave the country immediately. And the U.N. secretary-general said today that the country is spinning out of control.

But, before we get further into the situation today, it is important to remember how we got here. Afghanistan wasn`t always a country at war. Kabul, the capital, was known as late as the disco era as the Paris of Central Asia, a cosmopolitan city where women went to school and wore miniskirts.


But, in 1978, the country`s president was assassinated in a communist coup. In 1979, the Soviets invaded, occupying the country for more than a decade. The U.S. then backed guerrilla fighters, the mujahideen, as part of the Cold War fight against communism.

Some of those fighters went on to form the Taliban, which took over the country in 1996 and later allied with al Qaeda and its son of a builder extremist leader Osama bin Laden. And shortly after 9/11, the U.S. invaded. And, 20 years later, here we are.

And I`m joined now by NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel.

And, Richard, I guess the most obvious question to ask you, we have been there 20 years. If it`s so unstable that the Taliban has already taken over two-thirds of the country, what did we accomplish?

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the way it is looking right now, the U.S. accomplished very little. And we may be in a much worse situation than we were in even before the Taliban was in power.

We could be in a worse situation now than ever in Afghanistan, because of all the time and money and lives that have been spent and the amount of credibility that the Taliban are now going to have. They are now the international celebrities among the extremist world. They were able to claim and are claiming that they defeated the United States, that pushed out the United States.

And that`s going to give them a recruiting tool for generations. So Afghanistan could become more of a terrorist magnet than it ever was even before, even when it was hosting Osama bin Laden.

REID: Well, they can...

ENGEL: That`s the way things look right now.

REID: Yes.

ENGEL: Over the last 20 years, it didn`t have to be like this. There were bright moments. Afghanistan changed a great deal.

I`m sorry. You were asking?

REID: No, no, go ahead, Finish your answer.


So, I was saying, right after 9/11, the U.S. moved in with a very light footprint, overthrew the Taliban, pushed out al Qaeda. Within three months, that phase of the war was won. And there were freedoms introduced. Health care was introduced. Afghans were free. They were able to embrace new lives, new opportunities. The U.S. presence was extremely popular.

Then things went off the rails when the United States went to Iraq and overextended itself.

REID: Yes.

ENGEL: And 90 percent of U.S. military resources in the region were shifted to Iraq. Things started to deteriorate. The Taliban were able to come back.

And for years now, the U.S. has been drifting in this state of semi-war, semi-victory with the Taliban, until right now, when the U.S. is pulling the bandage off. So, there had been a degree of stability or a status quo established...

REID: Yes.

ENGEL: ... until right now, when the U.S. is leaving in such a rapid and dramatic way, some say completely irresponsible way. That`s what many Afghans believe...

REID: Yes.

ENGEL: ... that the country is quickly falling apart, and it is falling apart into something that it was worse -- that is worse than what it was where we started.

REID: And yet another ridiculously unnecessary and a horrible outcome from the unnecessary invasion of Iraq.

Thank you for pointing that out, Richard Engel. It`s tragic. Thank you so much. Really appreciate you. Thank you.

And with me now is Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado, a former Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And that point really sticks with me, as somebody who opposed the Iraq War from the beginning. The fact that we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan and took all of those resources, including yourself, sir, to Iraq, and allowed Afghanistan to deteriorate, I think, is historically awful.

And it is a stain on the former administration, the Bush administration.

I will edit the what will we what did we accomplish question, and to say that part of the answer is, we got bin Laden. So that happened, right, ultimately.

But for you, as somebody who served in Afghanistan, I think about a 22- year-old who, for all of their sentient life, has essentially been able to live with the freedoms that Richard Engel described, being able to go to school, a girl being able to go to school, maybe now in college, maybe wanting to be a doctor or a lawyer.

They are -- they have never lived under the Taliban. What should we say to that girl who is now going to discover the hell of Taliban life?


I mean, this is nothing short of heartbreaking. I`m a member of Congress now. But way before I was a member of Congress, I was an Army Ranger. I served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Afghanistan twice.

So, like many of us who served in Afghanistan, we have left pieces of our heart with that country and come to love many of the people that we served with and fought with, including the Afghans. And it`s extremely heartbreaking to see how this is ending.

And we`re going to have decades to debate this, the missteps, the problems, the lost opportunities, the malfeasance that went into this.


But there is an ongoing mission right now, and we have an opportunity to say many of those young girls which you talk about. So, my focus right now and the days and the weeks ahead, that we have some young women, we have Afghan interpreters, we have folks that worked in civil society, tens of thousands of them that want to come to the U.S. to safety.

We now have an obligation to conduct a broad and expeditious evacuation to get many of those folks out into safety, because they have come to rely on us for that.

REID: I think of Afghanistan as essentially the real-life "Handmaid`s Tale," right where they weren`t normal, modern country that was taken over by essentially a Gilead, a sort of version of Gilead.

And now they`re sort of stuck in this mess. But the ending is not written by the Biden administration alone. I`m going to put up a couple of tweets from Ivanka Trump, who was heralding her father making the deal that, essentially, the Biden administration is -- adopted and didn`t change and didn`t edit.

So this was a Trump administration decision to get out.

Do you think that the Biden administration, even though it`s very popular - - listen, Americans don`t want to still be there, don`t want to be there forever. The majority of Americans support getting out of Afghanistan. We cannot be in forever wars, right?

CROW: Right.

REID: In your view, should the deal to get out have been left the way that the Trump administration left it? Or should it have been somehow altered?

CROW: I have always disagreed with the so-called deal with the Taliban, because you can`t deal with the Taliban. You just can`t. They`re never coming to it with good faith. I learned that many years ago.

So, at the same time, I think we should leave and I did agree with the Biden administration`s and President Biden`s decision to leave, because, after 20 years, and hundreds of billions of dollars, building a 300,000- strong military in Afghanistan, if that military can`t last 60 days, then another two years, another five years wouldn`t have mattered.

REID: Won`t matter. Yes.

CROW: You can give them tanks, you can give them aircraft. You can`t give them the will to fight, and you can`t give them leadership and the ability to do that.

REID: Yes.

CROW: So I do -- I did agree with the decision to withdraw.

But we now have to look at the terms of that withdrawal and how we do it. And that comes back to the honor that is to be had right now in the next couple of weeks and months, and that is saving our partners, saving...

REID: Yes, absolutely.

CROW: ... those who we made promises to.

REID: Yes, treat it as Gilead and get as many people the hell out of there as possible.

Thank you so much for your service, Congressman Jason Crow, and for being here this evening. Really appreciate you.

OK, "Who Won the Week?" is still ahead. Going to try to uplift ourselves this evening.

But first: Republican Senator Rand Paul has had a truly terrible week, suspended from YouTube for spreading misinformation about masks, and now facing tough questions about a COVID-related stock purchase his family made at the onset of the pandemic. Hmm.

And that`s coming up after this quick break.




SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): We`re proud of being trying to be part of a cure.

Now, the company we invest lost money. So we were weren`t exactly right on what the cure would be. But I don`t understand where there would be a problem in investing for a cure, but losing money.


REID: I mean, I went into the bank with a gun and said, give me all your money, but they didn`t give me any, so I didn`t really rob the bank.

Senator Rand Paul, who was suspended this week from YouTube for going on a tirade against wearing masks to prevent COVID, said he was simply trying to be a part of the cure when his wife purchased stock in the drug company behind remdesivir back in February of last year.

Now, by law, the Kentucky senator was supposed to disclose that purchase 16 months ago, and we`re only learning about it this week. Paul says he filled out a report last year, but only recently learned that it was never sent in. Oops.

Paul sits on the Senate Health Committee that received a private briefing on the virus that January before it ravaged the country. His spokesperson claims that Paul did not attend any private briefings. The stock purchase came three weeks before COVID was even declared a pandemic, and there were only 14, 14 cases in the United States.

Now, curiously, as CNBC reports, the purchase is the first and only individual stock -- the only one -- that the lawmaker has reported he or his wife buying or selling during his 10 years in the Senate. Coinkydink.

Joining me now is Don Calloway, Democratic strategist and founder of the National Voter Protection Action Fund, and Dana Milbank, political columnist for "The Washington Post."

I don`t even know who to go to first. It`s sort of like I -- it`s a -- let`s do a grab bag.

I will go with you, Dana, Mr. Dana Milbank, columnist and journalist.

Does it seem credible to you that Rand Paul only bought one stock in 10 years, individual stock, and it happened to be the one for a treatment for coronavirus?


Dr. Fauci a few weeks ago had a run-in with Rand Paul. And he said, Senator Paul, you have no idea what you`re talking about. But now it appears it may be a little more sinister than that. He`s going around last year saying, no big deal, this virus, but his wife is evidently seeing it as a very big deal, because she`s making this investment in the company.

And the notion that, well, he lost money, the stock did go up. They just didn`t sell it at the right time. So it appears that the senator, Senator Doofus, may have something more going on in his brain here than he led on.


MILBANK: And it doesn`t look good. There were -- many of his colleagues were having problems with this same notion of insider trading, and he kept mum for nearly a year-and-a-half.

And he`s managed to push it closer to his own reelection.

REID: Yes, I remember some other senators who were in the Senate. I mean, it couldn`t have been more sinister if his wife went muahahah while she buying the stock.

OK, let me go to you on this, Don.

I want to play you somebody who might have some thoughts about the idea of trying to profit from the things that you learn in Congress. And this person, I think, is really credible on this issue.


This is cut one for my producers.


PAUL: People should not profit off of their involvement in government. They shouldn`t profit off of special relationships. They shouldn`t profit off of special knowledge they gain in the function of serving the people.



REID: Your thoughts on that critical witness, Don?


There`s always a mixtape if you hang around Congress just long enough.


CALLOWAY: I knew that was going to come up. And that`s 2012, right?

But I think it`s time that we point out, as Dana just alluded to, that this is standard practice for the national Republican Party. Senator Kelly Loeffler, former Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, and Senator Richard Burr, who also faces reelection in 2022, they basically dumped a substantial portion of their personal portfolios after that Senate Commerce Committee private briefing just for the senators in which the senators were actually told, hey, this thing is going to be serious.

So, while they dumped, what Rand Paul went and did is bought a whole bunch of stock in Gilead, which makes remdesivir. Standard practice for the Republican Party. If you look at former labor secretary and transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, whose husband is the Senate minority leader, hopefully never again the majority leader, she sits on multiple boards of logistics and transportation-based companies.

So this is standard practice for the Republican Party, who have made a practice of getting personal wealth off of their government service. But there`s always a tweet, and, thankfully, there`s always a tape, isn`t there?

REID: There`s always a mixtape, as you said.

Let`s go to Ron Johnson just on that point of being in the business of politics maybe to help out the rich and maybe get a little rich. ProPublica has a piece that says the following.

This is on Ron Johnson`s push for extra tax breaks for mega-donors in the Trump tax cuts: "Confidential tax records reveal that Johnson`s last minute maneuver to push for these extra tax breaks benefited two families more than any others in the country, both with billions and both among the senator`s biggest donors. The cut could deliver more than half-a-billion in tax savings to these two people over its eight-year life."

Your thoughts, Dana, on Ron Johnson using his job to benefit his rich friends?

MILBANK: Joy, this is bribery. It`s -- it may be legal, but it`s legalized bribery.

These same two billionaires gave $20 million in 2016 to help Ron Johnson get reelected. Then he turns around and puts in this -- increases the tax break for these pass-through corporations. And they immediately benefit, these two billionaires, $80 million, so a 4-1 return on their investment.

So if there`s a pass-through going on here, it seems to be a pass-through between Ron Johnson and his donors. You pay up front, you`re going to get four times return on your investment.

REID: Don, do Democrats have a strategy for attempting to replace him in his seat? Is there a credible candidate out there, in your view?

CALLOWAY: Absolutely.

There`s a young brother from Alabama, A&M University, Kappa Alpha Psi named Mandela Barnes. There`s also a young Nupe who is going to take out the gentleman in Kentucky named Charles Booker.

Democrats are running -- I had to do it, a point of personal privilege. I`m sorry.

REID: All I`m saying, I know some cats. You all -- you really you all are advocates, which I love the fact that your main -- the main qualification...

CALLOWAY: That`s right.

REID: ... the most important thing to know is that they`re, in your view, the right fraternity.

But we`re not going to get into that debate right now, because, when we go back, we`re going to...



REID: When we come back, we`re going to have these two gentlemen play our favorite game, and that is "Who Won the Week?"

So, stay right there, and that is after the break.




REID: It`s Friday the 13th. But, also, it`s just Friday, which means it`s time to play, yes, "Who Won the Week?"

Back with me are Don Calloway and Dana Milbank.

Don Calloway, who won the week? And if you say the Kappas, I`m going to cut you off. But you could say the Kappas. Say whatever you want.


CALLOWAY: I`m always winning the week.

But this week, honorable mention goes to the legendary LOX crew out of Yonkers, New York, who got a billion streams after defeating the Dipset.

However, who really won the week is state Senator Carol Alvarado representing Houston, Texas, with her amazing 15-hour filibuster of the voter suppression bill in Texas. She did not win the war. That bill passed.

But William Wallace didn`t win the war. But he won the battle. He didn`t win the battle, but he won the war in the long term. And Texas Democrats are doing the right thing by keeping the public`s attention on this terrible voter suppression in their state.

REID: Yes, I really do feel like Texas Democrats are showing us the way to fight. Like, this is the way that -- I wished all Democrats would fight like a Texas Democrat, because they are leaving it all on the table.

They`re taking -- they`re doing everything they can to save our democracy. God bless the Texas Democrats.

Dana Milbank, you got a tough one to follow.

In your view, Dana Milbank, who won the week?

MILBANK: Well, Joy, you recall, a couple of weeks ago, Nancy Pelosi called Kevin McCarthy a moron because he was not interested in dealing with the new mask requirements.


MILBANK: Well, now it turns out McCarthy is intent on proving the accuracy of Pelosi statement, because he and the Republican Party have made T-shirts for a fund-raiser that just say, in big letters, "Moron."


MILBANK: And Nancy Pelosi wins this week for starting off this whole episode.

And also her office`s response was a GOP first, truth in advertising.

REID: I want every single one of them to buy one of those T-shirts and wear them every day. We should start a GoFundMe and make them all buy them, because we`re like, no, no, wear that. That is like owning the libs. Seriously, that`s how you own the libs.

My pick for who won the week are all of the cities, companies big, the unions in -- the teachers unions in Florida, everyone who`s fighting back against the anti-maskers. San Francisco for saying you got to get vaxxed to come inside in all of our venues. United Airlines, I might switch to you from Delta because you did the right thing on requiring people to be vaxxed.

Wesleyan College, Birmingham Southern -- Birmingham Southern, thank you all for fighting to end COVID.

That, in the end -- Don Calloway, Dana Milbank, thank you.

That`s the end of the show.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.

Happy Friday.